Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)

James Murray (Labour politician)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Name  James Murray

James Murray (Labour politician) James Murray National Advisory Panel CLASS

James Dixon Murray (17 September 1887 – 24 January 1965), often known as Jim Murray, Jimmy Murray or J. D. Murray, was a British coal miner and Labour Party politician in the United Kingdom.


Early life and education

Murray was born in East Howle, County Durham, on 17 September 1887 to William Murray and Amelia Murray (née Dixon). He was from a family of twelve and was brought up in a three-roomed miner's cottage at 27, Front Street, Browney Colliery. He began work at a Durham pit aged thirteen, and was hewing coal by the time he was sixteen years old. He had a primary education at East Howle Elementary school, but was anxious to improve himself, went to evening classes and twice won WEA (Workers’ Educational Association) university scholarships.

Early political career (1925–1942)

He was a miners' union official, was elected to Durham County Council in 1925, and in 1937 became an Alderman of Durham City.

Parliamentary career

He was elected unopposed as the Member of Parliament for Spennymoor at a by-election in July 1942, following the resignation of the Labour MP Joseph Batey due to ill health. He retained the seat at the 1945 general election, and when the Spennymoor constituency was abolished for the 1950 general election, he was returned as MP for the new North West Durham constituency.

He retired from the House of Commons at the 1955 general election.

Maiden speech

An urban myth surrounds his maiden speech. It is popularly believed that it took him years to make his maiden speech, finally rising to his feet during World War II to complain about "the shortage of dum-tits at Meadowfield Co-op". In fact he made his maiden speech, entitled "Coal Situation" on 1 October 1942, little over two months after being elected. His speech about the "Soothers" was actually made during the closing months of World War II, almost three years after his entry to Parliament.

Parliamentary incidents

Murray was publicly reprimanded in the House of Commons on 17 March 1947 by Conservative MP Robert Boothby for eating an orange, as Boothby was allergic to oranges.

Personal life

Prior to his election to Parliament, he ran a shop and lived in a house opposite it at 11 Frederick Street, North Meadowfield until he died. He was an Independent Methodist Minister and President of the Browney Independent Methodist Church in Brandon Lane. When the chapel closed, he founded and opened the new Murray Independent Methodist Church on 11 October 1958 on the new Saw Mills Estate, at Grove Road, Brandon which is locally known as "Jimmy Murray's chapel". He died at Dryburn Hospital, Durham and left an estate valued at £14,769 and was survived by his wife and their three daughters.


James Murray (Labour politician) Wikipedia

Similar Topics
Cat City
Shaun Brisley
Gil Paterson